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The role of the Inter Press Service in the international mediascape

The case of IPS’ reporting on the 2005 World Social Forum

Masterarbeit 2005 80 Seiten

Medien / Kommunikation - Printmedien, Presse


Academic studies generally paint a very positive picture of the alternative news agency Inter Press Service (IPS). It has frequently been demonstrated that – unlike the big commercial agencies – IPS provides descriptions of complex processes rather than ‘spot news’, informs about positive developments rather than the ‘crisis-reporting’ that tends to prevail in the mainstream media, and succeeds in reporting from the perspective of developing countries and of people who do not usually get to speak in the news. An analysis of whether a news agency with such laudable intentions actually has the power to contribute to social change appears to be lacking, although IPS’ marginal status in the mediascape has been pointed out. Against that background, this study investigates the role of IPS as alternative in the mediascape based on IPS’ coverage of the Fifth World Social Forum (WSF), which took place in Porto Alegre (Brazil) in January 2005.
The field research for this study was conducted during an internship at the IPS Latin America office in Montevideo (Uruguay) and at the World Social Forum, where the author was part of the IPS news team. Considering IPS’ extensive coverage of the WSF and the fact that civil society constitutes IPS’ major audience as well as being the key protagonist at the WSF, both the Forum and civil society are regarded important aspects to this analysis. The author presupposes the importance of the WSF for global social movements, and the need both for a diversity of sources that inform the public about the event and the issues discussed there, and for alternatives in the rather homogeneous media sector. The following questions guide the analysis:
a. How does the IPS coverage of the 2005 WSF differ from that by mainstream media?
b. Does IPS contribute to social change?
c. Is IPS an important information source and platform for civil society organisations?
Following a brief introduction, the theoretical concepts central to the analysis are outlined by describing imbalances of the international news environment, explaining the notion of news values, and looking into theories on media effects. An overview of research conducted on the Inter Press Service is furthermore provided. After a description of research methodologies, three chapters focus on one of the guiding questions each, presenting and discussing the research findings on IPS’ coverage of the World Social Forum, its contribution to change, and […]


ISBN (eBook)
640 KB
Institution / Hochschule
Universität Bremen – Sozialwissenschaften
alternative media news social civil jouralism



Titel: The role of the Inter Press Service in the international mediascape